Local Fare Does Well in Russia During the Holiday Period

Ivan the Prince and the Grey Wolf - H 2011

Russian films grab 54% of the local box office.

MOSCOW -- Contrary to the previous trends, local films showed an impressive performance at Russia’s New Year season box office, accounting for more than 50 percent of the total gross.

The local fare was responsible for $47 million, or 54 percent of the total box office during the period from Dec. 28 to Jan. 8, with its share doubling from the corresponding period of last year. Five Russian films made the holiday period’s box office top 10, compared with only two a year ago.

The holiday performance of Russian movies comes against the background of an overall decline of their share in the total box office, which was 12.6 percent for the entire year 2011, the lowest figure since 2004.

While Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows became the box office champion, grossing $21.8 million, it was followed closely by the animated fantasy Ivan Tsarevich I Sery Volk (Ivan the Prince and the Grey Wolf), which grossed $20.8 million. Two other local releases, the comedies O Chyom Yeshchyo Govoryat Muzhchiny (What Else Men Talk About) and Yolki-2 (Six Degrees of Celebration-2), produced by Timur Bekmambetov’s company Bazelevs, took third and fourth places, respectively.

Ivan the Prince and the Grey Wolf, directed by Vladimir Toropchin,became Russia’s highest grossing animated film of all time, while Dmitry Dyachenko’s What Else Men Talk About, the fourth installment in a series of film projects by the theater troupe Kvartet I, with a budget of $2 million, came as the most profitable release in terms of the budget/gross ratio.

However, it is too early to talk about a reverse trend, experts warn. “These films were among the first that were made under the new funding system,” Oleg Ivanov, general director of Movie Research, told The Hollywood Reporter. “There are more scheduled for release in 2012, so we’ll see.”

He added that in any case, the proportion of the local fare is likely to go up this year. “It couldn’t decline any further,” he said. “Under the optimistic scenario, it is likely to reach 20 percent this year.”